Councillors take sides with anti-CSG movement

GASFIELD-free Byron Shire placards decorated Byron Shire Council chambers yesterday as councillors put their weight behind the anti-CSG movement and the blockade to stop gas mining at Bentley.

To applause from the gallery, the council unanimously backed Cr Duncan Dey's motion to write to Rous Water and relevant state ministers expressing concern that surface water runoff from the proposed Bentley mine could end up contaminating Byron Shire's water supply.

The motion in the council agenda included information from Rous Water saying runoff from the drill site was unlikely to reach the Lismore Source, where Rous draws drinking water from the Wilsons River.

The report reads: "... results of the modelling indicate that under normal operating conditions with low diffusion (90th percentile inflows with extraction) effluent will not reach the Lismore 35 Source in measurable concentrations and the majority of the effluent will be advected downstream.

"Should extraction be undertaken during very low flow conditions, effluent will be advected further upstream by tidal action and may reach the Lismore Source in measurable quantities.

"During conditions of higher diffusion, effluent may diffuse upstream to the Lismore Source when extraction is undertaken during ordinary operating conditions, however 40 concentrations are likely to be low (in the order of 0.4%)."

Also receiving applause was the vote to write to the relevant NSW ministers requesting the Northern Rivers' macadamia, dairy and beef industries be given Critical Industry Cluster (CIC) status to "protect the environment and economy from unconventional gas mining.

"Protecting our food is also part of protecting our tourism industry and jobs and our clean, green image," Cr Basil Cameron urged councillors.

The macadamia industry was crucial to the region, he said: "We cannot afford to lose this industry to CSG."

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